ANALYSIS - Eating offal, meat, butter, dairy products eggs and retinol-enriched margarine are some of the best ways to achieve the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.
These are some of the finding s of the European Food Safety Authority’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) in a study of vitamin intakes among the European population being carried out for the European Commission.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin obtained from the diet either as preformed vitamin A (mainly retinol and retinyl esters) in foods of animal origin or as provitamin A carotenoids in plant-derived foods.
The study shows that foods rich in retinol, such as meat, offal, butter, dairy products eggs and retinol-enriched margarine, allow preformed vitamin A to be absorbed efficiently at a rate of between 70 and 90 per cent.
Vitamin A is also found in foods rich in β-carotene including vegetables and fruits, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet red peppers, mangoes and melons.
However the report says that the absorption rate of β-carotene “appears to be highly variable” ranging between five and 65 per cent, depending on food- and diet-related factors, genetic characteristics and the health status of the subject.
The study took data from 12 dietary surveys in nine EU countries, assessing the vitamin A intake using food consumption data from the EFSA Comprehensive Food Consumption Database and vitamin A composition data from the EFSA nutrient composition database.
It found that the average vitamin A intake ranged between 409 and 651 μg RE/day in children aged one to three years, between 607 and 889 μg RE/day in children aged three to 10 years, between 597 and 1,078 μg RE/day in children aged 10 to 18 years and between 816 and 1,498 μg RE/day in adults.
The study concluded that the target intakes or the Population Reference Intakes (PRIs) should be 750 µg RE/day for men and 650 µg RE/day for women.
PRIs for infants and children were estimated in the range from 250 to 750 µg RE/day.
For pregnant women, the panel recommended a PRI of 700 µg RE/day and for breast feeding women, a PRI of 1,300 μg RE/day was proposed.
You can view the full report by clicking here.